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It's all about the bags!

posted Sep 7, 2020, 8:37 AM by Boston Cornhole
A modest collection by today's standards!

My social media timeline is filled with all things cornhole.  Tournaments, Pros looking for sponsors, podcasts...but nothing consumes more of my cyber real estate than cornhole bags!  From new releases to raffles and resellers, the bag revolution is real.  Let's take a closer look at this evolving phenomenon!

Bag prices need to go up

Economics 101 - Supply and Demand.  For the hottest bags, the demand has exceeded supply for quite some time.  Factor in the COVID-19 impact on supplies and that gap has never been larger.  But, for the most part, manufacturer prices have not climbed too much.  Why have the most basic principles of capitalism escaped bag pricing?  Higher prices may not be popular nor solve every problem, but they could relieve some stress on the production cycle.  In my opinion, if you have long wait times or need to temporarily stop taking orders, your bags are priced too far below market values.  If you do not adjust your prices, rest assured, the resellers will!  Even though you may lose a few customers with higher prices, you will be probably be making more profit doing the same amount of work.  And nothing screams the American Dream more than that!

As a consumer, I am still going to look for value and a good deal.  But, as a competitive player, bag availability is a major factor in choosing the bag I want to pitch.  I do not want to deal with the anxiety of not being able to purchase bags.  I will pay more, but please let me have those Reynolds Victory bags or AllCornhole Game Changer bags whenever I want them!

How do you break bags in?

Conventional wisdom would tell you that playing with them will do the trick and that is correct.  But, the timeline from "mail day" to tournament tip off may be a cause for some more drastic measures.  From washing with just the right amount of fabric softener to boiling them, these methods range from reasonable to insane!  Then again, I have Ultra Vipers, Reynolds Pro X, and Killshots 357 that I have not used in a tournament because they are not broken in.  So who's crazier, the guy tossing his bags into boiling water or the one buying all these bags and not using them!?  I am considering hiring someone to break in my bags.  I see it similar to fixing your dog...you don't want to witness it, but it needs to be done!

ACL Bags Matter

Perhaps that headline is an apropos buzzword, but it's true!  In my opinion, one of the biggest ACL contributions to the cornhole game has been the birth of the bag market.  Back in the day, the original ACO 450 bag was "the bag."  But, it was a sole-source product that soon ran into production delays and quality issues.  In contrast, the ACL's rise pushed an open-source bag policy.  That open source model with competing bag companies continues to create better products and the market we have today.  

The ACL brass are not working through the night stitching bags, but they have enabled others to be very profitable at doing just that.  Would any bag be a top seller if it were not ACL-approved?  I believe the answer to that is no.  And with that in mind, I do not have an issue with the new ACL bag policy that draws more revenue from the bag makers.  Cornhole is still a sport with no gate (consumers will not pay to watch it) and the sources of revenue and sponsorship are limited.  The potential bag revenue is just too big to ignore and companies need revenue to grow.

Looking through my "paper chasing" lens, I think the next "Game Changer" in the bag market would be a big company like Spalding or Wilson getting into the game.  Would cornhole even be on the radar of companies that work with the NBA and NFL?  I don't know, but if I were the ACO or ACL, I would continue to set bag policies on a season by season basis.  If any of those big company suits are reading this, your quickest path to success would be to go make Jeff Reynolds and Chad Littlewood very rich; they deserve it!

Will bags become collectibles?

My gut feeling is no, but I have been wrong before.  One thing that I noticed early on is that the cornhole demographic is filled with sneakerheads.  Yup, for the past decade, I have seen weak cornhole and shoe games!  Seriously, I see many parallels between sneakerheads and bagheads (did I just make that up) which means maybe collecting bags can become a thing.  Like some of the most desirable kicks (Jordan 1 BRED, Jordan 11 Concord), originals that had launched back in the day would probably be the most sought after.  With cornhole, "the day" is temporally much closer to the present, but the principle remains the same.  If I were putting a list together it would include ACO 450s, Reaper Slide-Rites, OG Game Changer, Lavender Pro Advantage, and White Widows.  On the flip side, client customized bags would probably hold the least value...including all my Boston Cornhole branded bags...sigh.